Round and About in Old Isleworth

Isleworth is now very much on Historic England’s map. In December 2016 the Isleworth Pottery site formerly known as Nazareth House in Richmond Road was awarded Scheduled Monument status. This makes it the Capital’s only legally protected porcelain factory site. The Schedule of Monuments contains structures considered of national importance.  Its primary purpose is to preserve and protect and oversee appropriate management.  This listing has already been used as a text book case study to inform decision-making at a Historic England archaeology training day for planners.  

By contrast, initial proposals of the Boundary Commission for changes to Parliamentary Constituencies indicate Brentford & Isleworth constituency would change to comprise the seven current Hounslow wards, including the whole of Chiswick, as well as Northfield and Southfield in neighbouring boroughs, but be called Brentford & Chiswick.   During the consultation period TIS made representations that Isleworth should also be included in the title.

On 12th November a Service of Thanksgiving was held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Ordination to the Roman Catholic Priesthood of Fathers Stewart Hasker and David Palmer.  This dovetailed with inauguration of the floodlighting of Our Lady of Sorrows & St. Bridget’s Church which now each evening sheds a wonderful beacon of light over Memorial Square.

Generosity in Isleworth showed itself during the annual November Poppy Day collection when the local Royal British Legion branch achieved an astonishing total of £33,040.18, well exceeding previous years.  This was accumulated via boxes available at local shops and volunteers braving the cold in the foyers of Tesco in Mogden Lane and Syon Lane. 

A series of events, as well as TIS’s Carols, took place in December.  These included on the 3rd what has now become the traditional Inspiring Isleworth Market with fair attractions including an ice rink. On this occasion it very much centred on Church Street drawing its usual large attendance.   A week later a smaller scale event was held in South Street, with Isleworth Public Hall hosting Christmas Carols by a Mass Choir on the 17th.

How times change. Documents passed to TIS relating to two Tolson Road properties, reveal that  on 19.12.1868 a builder James Rydon of Richmond, Surrey “who was married to his present wife after the year 1834” purchased land previously auctioned as part of 42 lots in 1865. The cost was £80.  Clauses in the conveyance include nothing to be erected within 5 ft of the road except fences not more than 6 ft high; trade as innkeeper, victualler or retailer of wine and spirits or beer not permitted, nor building of a factory, nor manufacturing of noxious or offensive trades to be allowed.  Subsequent conveyances of the built properties, Tavistock Cottages, indicate one changed ownership 1919, 1925, 1934 and 1963/4.  Repayments on the 1934 mortgage of £225 were £1.16s.0d monthly, while annual insurance cover for 1964 was £2.10s.0d.    The fascinating bundle of papers is being passed on to Hounslow Local Studies for safe keeping.

Vivid imagination of current developers knows no bounds. The apartment complex at 396-418 London Road is advertised as being “close to the River and leafy open spaces of Kew Gardens and nearby Richmond Park”!   St John’s Gardens, among the oldest in the Borough, while perhaps not as prestigious is much closer.  It now sports new gates along the dog free zone division.   Meetings have been held with local residents as to best treatment of trees lining Kendall Road gardens.  Work to contain their girth and height is long overdue but too drastic action now brings the prospect some may fail. Confirmation is awaited as to when LBofH will authorise repair of the collapsed wall bordering these same properties.  This creates a security problem for the occupiers of these houses.

At Silverhall final fate of the damaged Mulberry is still in the balance.  It sports a notice stating it will be monitored until April 2017 although at a meeting with residents in November LBofH contended it would be “subject to six monthly reviews”.   Despite contrary views of attendees at that meeting, and an earlier one, that the case has not been made to justify removing fencing bordering Mill Plat this still appears to be on LBofH’s radar.   Forceful views against this are that opening this part of the park in such a manner will radically change its nature status,  increase the likelihood of flytipping and disturb wild life through the inability to retain the area dog free etc.  It will also heighten safety concerns for pedestrians using Mill Plat.  

At the same November meeting Riverside Walk residents were given no evidence to back LBofH claims further proposed works, which will narrow parts of the Duke of Northumberland’s River, will not increase the probability of flooding.  Subsequently old style railings were removed along the Octavia Road section of the river to be replaced by unsightly galvanised ones.  The reason for the new was that “something had to go up as soon as possible for safety purposes as some of the banks are very steep”.  This overlooks the fact banks along Riverside Walk are equally steep with less grassed area between footpath and river but have no fencing. Representations to remedy this unsatisfactory status continue.

Redlees’ Master Plan was unveiled at the end of September.  Details can now be found on LBofH’s website of the individual projects proposed which over a period will bring about major overall improvement, including to the children’s play area highlighted as a priority.  Meanwhile there is still no news as to the long awaited verdict on the application, which TIS supported, to designate Village Green status at the Pit Park, now referred to as Northcote Avenue Nature Reserve.  However the Friends’ group there continues to work with a consultant on improvement plans with a view to holding a further exhibition at All Souls’ Church during February.

Voluminous papers setting out cases of all interested parties have accumulated relating to the Northumberland Estate’s appeal against LBofH’s grant of TIS’s request for Asset of Community Value status at Park Road Allotment Gardens.  No indication has been given as to when the outcome of the General Regulatory Chamber Tribunal deliberations will be known.  Meantime an archaeological investigation has been carried out at the site involving digging trenches 25-30mm long, 1.8m wide and to a depth of 1.2m.

In July 2015 S106 monies were allocated to replace the missing bench on Isleworth Green, North Street; indications are it will come into being during January 2016.  In nearby South Street contents of former much missed Taylors hardware store started to be removed in December.  The 18thC listed George Public House has closed.  While rumours abound as to its future no confirmed details are known although a certain amount of interior re-decoration has been undertaken.   On a more positive note TIS committee hosted Council

Leader Steve Curran on a tour of South Street to inspect the improvements, ranging from the minor such as painting bollards, adding more railings at the War Memorial, to restoration of the Glossop Memorial carried out through award of the Council’s Street Improvement Funding at TIS’s request. Part funding for the Glossop came from Heritage of London Trust who are now using this as an example to garner funds for a similar project in Greenwich.

Osterley & Wyke Green Residents’ Association (OWGRA) was formed some 30 years ago to maintain a watching brief in that area.  During September a new committee was formed; among its aims is to hold quarterly public meeting.  The first took place in December with impressive representation from LBofH officers, as well as the Council Leader, to head discussions on local planning issues.

LBofH’s latest Property Strategy document, setting out long term aspirations for Council owned premises, indicates Osterley Library site as suitable for re-development to include 6 flats above, or re-location of the library to be replaced by 3 large houses.  Re-location would involve its inclusion in a new Mini-Multi Purpose Centre at Osterley Sports and Athletics Centre, 120 Wood Lane.  Osterley Bowls Club, adjacent to the library, said to be in poor condition, is also noted as having potential for housing development. 

A bit further afield, mid-November saw an abrupt closure of Brentford Library following collapse of a ceiling in the children’s area. It remains closed pending results of structural engineering tests.  At around the same time of that closure, an exhibition revealed revised proposals for the nearby Morrison supermarket site.  This to include 225 flats within two blocks, the height of one having been reduced from 12 stories to 10, a supermarket of similar size to the current one as well as other shops and cafes.

A new departure took place in October when the National Football League (NFL) held an inaugural game at Twickenham Rugby Football Stadium (The Giants beat The Rams 17-10).  The NFL originated in the United States from an early version of rugby and this was the first non-rugby sporting event of this scale played at Twickenham since 1909.   Following its success, there will again be two regular season games held there later this year.

The Council supports the principle of all residential roads becoming 20 mph, hence a proliferation of notices appeared 2nd December announcing roads in a wide vicinity of Gumley School and The Green School will be affected.  Objections had to be in no later than 23rd December giving food for thought as to which officers would be working on the responses over the festive season! 

On an allied topic, consultation details were delivered at the year’s end to Linkfield Road area outlining possible ways of reducing traffic impact.  This made clear LBofH has no firm opinions on ideas largely put forward by local residents. The three options outlined seek to reduce traffic eastbound down Linkfield from London Road.  If any scheme receives sufficient support an 18 month trial could result.  Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) for the area also come into the equation. Comments needed to be submitted by 16th January. 

Early consultation has also taken place with the idea of making the Church Street/Park Road area a CPZ.   Additionally comments on the current 18 month trial Church Street closure need to be made to LBofH Traffic & Transport Service by 23rd January.   An update report detailing results of LBofH’s monitoring of this trial will be made to Isleworth & Brentford Area Forum (IBAF) in the Spring.  The next two meetings of this are scheduled as Thursday 26th January and 23rd March, 19.30 at Brentford Free Church, Boston Manor Road; all residents are welcome and encouraged to attend.

As well as being represented at IBAF, TIS participates in G15+ meetings an explanation of this, which dovetails with TIS’s aims, is:

What is G15+?  Just as individual residents join together to form a residents’ association to achieve more credibility on matters affecting a given local area, various resident groups Borough-wide have come together to meet informally to discuss issues of common interest, and gain more influence with the Local Authority. The group's influence was instrumental in establishing the Borough's Resident Associations’ Forum.

Why the name?    From small beginnings of 3-4 groups realising they had similar concerns and interests, numbers grew to eight and the name G8 was born; then came an increase giving rise to G15.

When numbers increased to over 25, a plus sign was added to avoid constant changes.

What are G15+’s main objectives?  To work positively with the Local Authority to:-

·       improve the Borough’s infrastructure and environment,  preserve and enhance its rich heritage and Conservation Areas;

·       achieve open and transparent decision-making processes that encourage residents and community groups to offer views and know they will be taken into account;

·       influence planning policies and outcomes;

·       improve lines of communication including with outsourced services.

TIS is also represented at Hounslow’s Resident Associations’ Forum.   The main discussion topic in December was Waste & Recycling.  It was admitted transition from the previous contractor, Suez-Sita, to the new in-house system run by Recycling 360 (R360) had not been as smooth as anticipated, with countless reports of missed collections etc.  The arrangement is R360 will collect missed items but a charge of £50 will apply if waste was not put out by the right time (7 a.m.), is contaminated by incorrect items, too heavy or the bin overflowing.   A digital tracking system to enable speedier remedies for genuine missed collections will come on stream early 2017. New arrangements include ultimately reducing general waste collection to fortnightly, with a revised weekly recycling service to be launched during the first quarter 2017.  This will involve replacing current recycling receptacles with three boxes (one green, one blue, one red) to contain largely the same items as previously with a few exceptions.  The overarching aim is to increase the Borough’s recycling rates, currently estimated at 38%, to 50%.

Sydney Sexton was born in South Street Isleworth in 1922. Following his death late last year, his family has donated to the Society a few copies of a small booklet compiled by his son, recounting some of his early life in Isleworth and a later passion for poetry and painting.   Copies may be obtained by sending £1.20 to cover postage, to 2 Lynton Close, Isleworth, TW7 7ET.